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How to protect yourself after the PlayStation Network breach

Wednesday - 4/27/2011, 6:29am  ET

playstation controller (AP Graphics Bank)
After the Playstation breach, it's recommended that you check all of your online accounts to make sure there is no unauthorized activity. (AP)

Evan Haning, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - If you are one of the 77 million gamers in the Sony Corp. PlayStation Network, you should take immediate steps to protect yourself after a massive security breach.

First, protect the passwords in your other online accounts.

If you use your PSN password to access other online services, CBS Technology Analyst Larry Magid says change them.

When you create new passwords, make them more difficult to guess. ConnectSafely.org has tips for strong passwords. One hint: Longer passwords are the better.

Be aware that your birthdate and answers to security questions ("What is your mother's maiden name? What high school did you attend?") give hackers access to your other accounts.

Start checking your credit reports. Learn how to get free credit checks at the secure site AnnualCreditReport.com.

You may now be at much higher risk of receiving official-looking (but phony) alerts and "official" warnings.

Magid says he wouldn't be surprised if a surge of phishing attacks went to PSN users disguised as security help from Sony.

Take security seriously.

Despite this breach - which is so large that it could cost Sony Corp. more than $24 billion, many users remain unconcerned.

"Everybody gets hacked," Michael Brant tells the Associated Press. He games with his 8-year-old grandson.

"If you know someone's spent a lot on gaming, they could be a spectacular target," Alan Paller, director of research for the SANS Institute, a security training organization, tells the Associated Press.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)